Those trailblazers into paths unknown into American history and folk tale lore aren't all they were made out to be. Even today they're still inflated tales that overshadow the real person behind them. But even stranger is the fact that we keep pushing them up on that mantel. Take Martin Luther King Jr. He just got a statue placed in Washington D.C. Which I have to admit, came at some really awkward unveiling.
Just think about it. The King statue is now installed in the Mall's constellation of national symbols, located halfway between the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln and Vietnam War memorials. So in a sense, King's visage glares across the Tidal Basin at the temple of Jefferson, slave owner and empire builder, who embodied all of the contradictions against which King struggled with in his life time.
In back of him is the Vietnam War memorial, which honors those killed in an imperial esculation that King opposed with a fervor that even his followers would like to forget how adamant he was opposed to.
But this all leads to my point in that I would never want to be a civil rights leader because people will just take your corpse and piss on it repeatedly. Jesse Jackson lamented the celebration of King's legacy coming at "a sad time" with widespread unemployment, congress in rebellion against the idea of helping the jobless, and the first African-American president facing unprecedented "retaliation, and venom."
Just look at who you had at the statue's unveiling:
Tommy Hilfiger took the podium to remind the crowd that King provided “inspiration” for his foundation to do good deeds. Diahann Carroll, star of a television show only Google can recall, spoke of her own very significant encounters with Dr. King which had “inspired” her. The chairman of General Motors said King had “inspired the GM family.” In this comforting perspective, King is welcomed as a motivational speaker just slightly ahead of his time, not as an agitator against the existing economic order.
How dare any of these people even speak of Martin, Martin Luther King was a communist, you fucking morons and he would hate Obama for being so piss poor of a leader unwilling to take control and allowing congress to dictate the will of the people for those fucking 1%.
A good OWS sign would be "Google 'Poor People's Campaign'" or something similar because people need to realize that at the time of his assassination MLK was organizing the beginning of what could only be described as a national (and possibly international) workers movement
Then again, most good people are communist. In fact, you probably should listen to all of it. And I mean all of that speech.
I say god damn. Though I do have to give it up to a different historical white washing. My favorite civil rights tragedy is how helen keller's story is widely known up until she goes to college or so, and then the collective consciousness seemingly blacks out. because she became a socialist and fought for the rights of women and the disabled
Not to mention all the contemporary papers which had so eagerly trumpeted her as an inspiring story for people of all ages blah blah turned around and said, well clearly now she doesn't know what she's talking about, she's deaf and blind (and a woman)!
So you see, your role models were great people to follow, but if you do so to their letter then you'll be doing plenty that would piss off the wrong people.